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U.S. Pushes Sudan Meetings to Ensure Referendum, Avoid Violence

The U.S. is working to avoid the “danger” that could develop if Southern Sudan fails to hold a long-planned referendum on whether to secede from Sudan and form a separate nation, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said.

Preparations are behind schedule for the Jan. 9 referendum, a key part of the 2005 peace agreement that ended the civil war between Sudan’s Muslim north and the oil-producing south, where Christianity and traditional beliefs dominate. A disputed border area, Abyei, will hold its own referendum on which side to join.